Dominant Brooklyn Nets: Harden’s Super-Team?

2018 MVP and eight-time all star James Harden has headed to the Brooklyn Nets, after spending 8 prosperous years on the Houston Rockets. He joined NBA champion Kyrie Irving and former teammate Kevin Durant, forming what could potentially be a superteam and dominant force in the East. James Harden had been pushing to be traded from Houston for weeks prior to the trade, and on Wednesday, January 13th his wishes came true, and a megatrade including 4 teams, the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Indiana Pacers, was made. There are many things to break down, including winners, losers, and some external perspectives. 

In order to look at this trade from a holistic perspective, every teams involvement has to be broken down. To begin with, the Nets received James Harden from the Rockets, as well as a 2024 second-round pick from the Cavs. The Rockets received Victor Oladipo from the Pacers, Dante Exum from the Cavs, and Rodions Kurucs from the Nets. That wasn’t it though. They also received a heap of first round picks and pick swaps including Brooklyn’s three unprotected first-round draft picks: 2022, 2024 and 2026, pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027, as well as Milwaukee’s 2022 first-round pick, through Cleveland. Next, the Cavs received Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets. Finally, the Pacers received both players and picks from the 4-way trade, including Caris Levert from the Nets and a 2023 second-round pick from the Rockets. 

There are many winners and losers in this trade, most importantly the Rockets and Nets. It’s hard to say whether or not the Rockets made the right decision, but based on the amount of first round picks they received, in addition to star Victor Oladipo, they are a winner in this megadeal. It will be hard for them to compete in the short term after losing an MVP caliber player, but long-term they will inevitably benefit from this trade. The Nets have proven to be losers in this trade. Although they received an MVP, they sacrificed the young talent Caris Levert, as well as multiple first round picks. This paired with defensive woes has resulted in very mediocre performances recently. They were expected to be a super-team, but as of now that hasn’t been the case, with the Nets at a mediocre 3rd place in the East. The Pacers and Cavs are both winners in this trade, with Jarrett Allen proving to be a potential all-star with recent stand-out performances. Unfortunately, Caris Levert was diagnosed with a small mass on his left kidney during his physical upon arrival to Indiana. He has successfully undergone surgery, and is working his way towards a return. After he returns, his offensive impact should prove to be pivotal in the Pacers play style. We asked some of your fellow Edsman on who they think the biggest winners and losers are of this trade, and this is what they had to say.

Here is junior Chris Pagan’s take on the trade:  “The James Harden trade to the Nets was a good deal for all teams. The Nets got their 3rd superstar that will likely take them to the NBA Finals, The Houston Rockets got Victor Oladipo, after trading Caris LaVert to Indiana. The Houston Rockets also got a haul of draft picks from Brooklyn. The Cavs got Tauren Prince and Jarrett Allen, who will likely trade Drummonds spot once he’s traded. I feel this trade was great for every team as they got what they needed”

Brendan Waters thinks that “obviously the Nets won the trade and James Harden hoodwinked all of us into thinking he was less valuable than he really is just to get out of Houston. I think the Rockets are still lucky to get Oladipo in return because Harden was bound to leave. I think the Nets have the best chance to win the ring this year, but it might prove to be bad in the long run.”

All of the attention is on the Nets and they are expected to make it to the finals by a lot of people this year, and so far they have proved to be one of, if not the best offensive team in the NBA. Their defensive woes have proven to hold them back, but if they take care of that they can easily compete against the lakers and other dominant teams in the league.